It’s been a hard night and Erick and I thought it would be fitting to reflect a bit on Steve Jobs and his legacy. We’re both understandably crushed by the news but rather than look back we wanted to look forward, forward to what comes next in a world without one of its greatest thinkers.
Steve Jobs is important to us because the gifts he gave mankind are innumerable. He gave us the gifts of elegance, of clarity, of drive. He gave us computers that spawned industries, phones that paid millions of salaries. He made it so I can Facetime from the road with my children before they go to bed and not have to worry about connection issues, downloads, fiddling. The stuff he made just works.
Call him prickly. Call his products overpriced and underpowered. Call Apple a toymaker, not serious, not real. But remember that everything Steve Jobs touched was a masterpiece of engineering in a world where “just OK” is increasingly the norm. His products outsell almost anything else by an order of magnitude.
He’s not being praised here because millions of people are bewitched and ignorant. He’s being praised because millions of people see the future as he did: a place where things get increasingly better, where we are more connected, better informed, and generally happier. There’s a reason the old Apple logo was a human and a computer smiling at each other. That smile is primordial. It’s the smile of a worker with his best tools. It’s the smile of a thinker over her favorite book. It’s the smile of a man, alone in a hotel room, watching his daughter read Cinderella to her dolls.